Ponte Brolla, Maggia Valley, Ticino, Switzerland
27 - 29 July 2018

Since 1992, international cliff diving competitions, such as the Swiss Open Championships, the European Championships and the World Championships, have taken place in the magic Maggia Valley. With its countless, breathtakingly beautiful natural swimming pools, often surrounded by steep granite cliffs, the Maggia Valley belongs to one of the most spectacular natural settings for cliff diving in the world. Athletes have shown already twenty-two times their technical skills in the canyon of Ponte Brolla.

What is Cliff Diving?

Cliff diving is the acrobatic perfection of diving into water from elevated heights. This sport demands tremendous physical and psychical fitness. After their launch from 20 meters, athletes have approximately 2.5 seconds to execute their dives before entering the water with a bit less than 80 km/h. Performing multiple somersaults with twists from capricious heights demands absolute body control, self-confidence, concentration and courage. To be a successful cliff diver, one must have at least ten years of experience as an Olympic diver (springboard or platform) or in a similar sport discipline. Cliff divers must have perfected the ability to complete technical diving manoeuvres before attempting jumps at elevated heights. The demanding nature of this sport might be one reason why only a limited number of around 200 athletes worldwide perform this extreme sport. Since cliff diving’s establishment as an official sport discipline and with the WHDF’s support for young talents, the number of active cliff divers is worldwide increasing.

The History of Cliff Diving

Cliff Diving’s birth place is on the tiny Hawaiian island Lana’i. At the island’s south western point lies Kaunolu which was an inhabited village, but is now a sacred ruin place. Verified by documents are the first cliff dives from Kahekili, chief of four islands, who “flew” from the 63 feet cliffs at Kaunolu in 1770. To prove loyalty and courage, Kahekili forced his warriors to follow his example. Legends say that Kahekili, nicknamed “birdman”, was flying from cliffs up to 400 feet (122 meters). Later, under King Kamehameha I, there were cliff diving competitions held at Kaunolu. The Hawaiian expressions “lele kawa“ (diving without splash) and “lele pahu“ (diving with a lot of splash), testify to this past.

World High Diving Federation (WHDF)

The World High Diving Federation with head quarters in Thun BE, Switzerland, is an independent international sport federation, founded in February 1996. Responsibilities of the WHDF include:

  • presenting professional information about the sport of cliff diving/high diving
  • organizing and carrying out national and international competitions
  • supporting and promoting new generations of divers, in co-operation with national Olympic Diving Federations
  • WHDF is recognized by the Swiss Olympic Committee and is a member of ISF (International Sport Federations).

The International Cliff Diving Championship 2017

In Ponte Brolla, athletes can dive from 13, 15 or 20 meters height into the crystal clear, around 18 °C cold water of the river Maggia. The natural diving pool has an average water depth of around 13 to 15 meters.

Competition Information

Diving Heights: 13/15/20 meters

Water Depth: 13 - 15 meters

Participants: See start list

Judges: 5 international judges

Regulation: See Competition Rules

Live Audience: max. 300 persons per day

Entrance: Free. WHDF declines any responsibility.

Safety precaution: To enter this natural venue, good shoes are recommended; the trial to the diving site is not suitable for small children nor disabled persons.

Tourism Information: Vallemaggia Turismo www.vallemaggia.ch


World High Diving Federation

Langestrasse 42

CH-3603 Thun